Chiefs Sign Ex-Chargers Starter Coming Off ‘Career Year’: Report

Drue Tranquill

Getty Kansas City Chiefs new linebacker Drue Tranquill with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022.

The Kansas City Chiefs have made another signing in free agency — and this one should impact a division rival.

The Score’s NFL insider Jordan Schultz reported: “FA LB Drue Tranquill is signing a one-year deal with the Chiefs, sources tell @theScore. Tranquill comes off a career-year for the [Los Angeles] Chargers, amassing 144 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 4 PBUs.”

He added later that the contract is incentivized and could pay “up to $5 million,” noting that he was also told Tranquill “chose Kansas City over five other suitors.”

Drue Tranquill’s Contract Details Confirmed, Chiefs Gaining Experience at LB & Special Teams

The Athletic’s Nate Taylor confirmed Schultz’s reported contract details, providing a little bit more information.

“Can confirm Drue Tranquill has agreed to join the Chiefs [on] a 1-year deal worth $3 million that can maximize to $5 million through incentives, per source (@Schultz_Report 1st),” Taylor tweeted.

With this signing, KC supporters should expect experience at both linebacker and special teams. Before elevating into a full-time starting role in 2022, Tranquill was more of a rotational linebacker and core special teamer.

The former fourth-round pick out of Notre Dame started 16 games last year, but only started 11 over his first three NFL seasons according to Pro Football Reference. Schultz listed his “career-year” numbers above, but he left out that Tranquill also forced two turnovers (one fumble, one interception) in 2022.

The real appeal for this Kansas City coaching staff might be the 484 special teams snaps. The Chiefs struggled in this ST department with a lot of fresh faces in 2022, and like Justin Watson a year ago, Tranquill should be able to step right in and provide an immediate impact in multiple areas of the game.

Ex-Chargers’ Drue Tranquill Sends Message to Chiefs Kingdom Upon Signing

Tranquill also confirmed this news himself, sending a message to Chiefs Kingdom on Twitter.

“Hey there @Chiefs👋🏼,” he wrote, adding: “BIG TIME ENERGY ❤️🔥.”

As they typically do, KC supporters have already welcomed the former division rival into the kingdom with open arms — as Tranquill’s tweet has nearly 4,000 likes in an hour’s worth of time.

Drue Tranquill Signing Gives Chiefs 4 Solid Linebackers

On paper, it’ll be curious to see whether Tranquill starts for the Chiefs. Obviously, Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. aren’t going anywhere.

Then you have a recent third-round draft pick in Leo Chenal as the current No. 3.

It could honestly be an open competition between Tranquill and Chenal this summer, with the loser being relegated to a backup role. The rookie struggled at times in year one, missing big tackles and having some difficulty picking up NFL offenses — but he also showed tenacity and promise.

Chenal finished with a pretty strong grade on Pro Football Focus (70.3) despite his growing pains, but did miss four tackles and allowed catches on all seven QB targets in pass coverage. He was credited with one sack off four quarterback pressures, along with 16 key defensive stops.

At the very least, Tranquill should push Chenal in training camp and make him better.

It’s fair to note that the Chiefs start two linebackers half the time anyway with L’Jarius Sneed or a third safety moving inside as a big nickel DB, so the winner of this LB3 job might not even get a full-time workload most weeks. Both will factor on special teams, however, and additional depth is never a bad thing considering KC chose not to tender veteran LB Darius Harris.

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